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Posted August 23, 2017

Another day, another scam. This time the fraudster isn’t the only criminal – now you’re an accomplice and could face criminal charges, plus incur thousands in debt.

Card Cracking is a type of account fraud in which a fraudster convinces you to act as an unknowing accomplice in stealing money from your financial institution. Increasing in frequency, it’s a serious problem and tends to impact college students, young adults, and members of the military most often.

How does it work?
Step One: Make Quick Cash

Maybe you see a post on social media announcing a contest to win money or a gift card. Or someone calls and tells you you’ve won a scholarship you never applied for. Or you get a text message with an offer of a “fool-proof” way to earn money. These are just some of the ways the fraudsters try to entice you with offers of “quick cash”.

Step Two: Here’s My Checking Account Information

The fraudster convinces you to give them your checking account information including debit card number, PIN, and online banking login information.

Step Three: Checks Deposited to Your Account

The fraudster deposits checks to your account, usually remotely, and usually more than one. The checks are drawn on accounts with no money in them, but the fraudsters know it’ll take time to clear the account. The money is credited to your checking account and is now available to be spent or withdrawn.

Step Four: Fraudster Withdraws Money Immediately from an ATM

Acting quickly, the fraudster withdraws money from your account at an ATM using the information you provided and a fabricated debit card. They may even ask you to wire them the money. This is all done before the financial institution can verify there’s no money in the account. Once this is verified, your account goes negative.

Step Five: Here’s Your Kickback

Once the fraudster takes the money from your account, you receive a kickback for your participation. This is the “quick cash” that was promised from the initial contact.

Step Six: “Oh no, my debit card has been compromised!”

As part of the card-cracking scheme, you are encouraged by the fraudsters to report your debit card as stolen or your information as compromised.

Step Seven: You’re a Criminal Accomplice

What the fraudsters fail to tell you is that by giving them your account information, you are authorizing them to use your account. Unfortunately, this means you are a willing accomplice to the crime that has taken place. You could receive up to 30 years in prison for participating. And you have to pay the stolen funds back.

Avoid Card Cracking and Fraud

Never give out your financial and account information no matter what the fraudster promises you or how harmless it sounds. Even if you know the person or it looks like a reputable company. They do not need to know your account information so keep it safe!